HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – At 12:01 p.m. Thursday, Horry and Florence counties began accepting same-sex marriage applications, along with the rest of South Carolina, after a U.S. Supreme Court decision blocked an emergency stay on the issue.
Three couples were in line at the Conway probate courthouse at noon on Thursday to get the application, but all couples must wait at least 24 hours before the marriage license is issued under state law. The first couple in line said they have been together for 28 years, and have already had a wedding ceremony, but will make it official once they get their licenses. They recently moved to the area from Kentucky, own a restaurant, and have three adopted children.
Couples in the Pee Dee apply for same-sex marriage license
WMBF News was at the courthouse in Florence as the first same sex couple submitted their marriage license application Thursday.
In Florence County, five same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses after noon.
Two female couples were lined up at the door to begin filling out paperwork when the clock struck noon.
The first same-sex couple to submit a marriage application in Florence County was Kim Ellisor and Jami Cornwell, who have been together for seven years.
"It's something we've talked about for a long time, but not sure if that would ever happen, but something we hoped would happen, so it's nice to have that opportunity now," Cornwell said.
They saidy they're nervous the right could still get taken away.
"Even up until five minutes before 12 p.m., we were afraid that something would change and even now, we're applying for our license, we're putting in the application, but we don't plan on getting married until a few months from now," Ellisor said.
The couple will tie the knot at a wedding surrounded by family in January.
"I thought I would have to move to New York to even be openly gay to being able to marry the love of my life, it's a huge deal to me," Ellisor said. "It means everything to me. It really does."
Cornwell and Ellisor along with the other four same-sex couples who filled out applications Thursday will be able to pick up their marriage certificates Friday.
In a 7-2 decision, the United States Supreme Court decided Thursday to not issue an emergency stay in the ongoing political drama surrounding same-sex marriage, paving the way for the marriages to begin in the Palmetto State at noon Thursday.
With that decision, South Carolina becomes the 35th state in the United States to allow same-sex couples to marry.
In a brief statement, seven of the nine Supreme Court justices denied the stay, but Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas said they would hear it.
Thursday's decision means there is very little left for Attorney General Alan Wilson to do to stop marriages from beginning at noon.
The attorney general's office released a statement shortly after the decision came down, saying that despite Thursday's ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has not resolved conflicting rulings by other federal appeals courts.
"When the U.S. Supreme Court. decides to consider the case, our office will be supporting the position of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is more consistent with South Carolina State law, which upholds the unique status of traditional marriage," the statement said.
WMBF News spoke to a gay couple in Myrtle Beach on Wednesday – they have been together for over 30 years, and were married in Washington D.C. last year. They are glad that their marriage will now be recognized in the state where they live. They are also excited
"You can finally say to your spouse... hey, you're my next of kin now, you're not just my roommate," Terry Livingston said.
Livingston is excited some of his friends will finally be able to plan their weddings, "and not have to do the destination wedding to D.C. or to a state where it is legal. So, I'm excited - looking forward to a lot of great weddings here at the beach."